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Saturday, August 4, 2007

California Blogging

I am in Sacramento, California. Mrs. Gruff, Baby Gruff, and I flew out to California about two weeks ago and hung around Mountain View with some old friends and their new baby girl until today. We've spent our time hiking through redwood forests, tiptoeing around T-Rex-and-flamingo-infested Google-land, admiring jelly-bean art, and nibbling on Cookie-bottom Sundaes.

I left out a few things, mainly all the time we were stuck in traffic listening to babies cry, our unplanned visit to the Sausalito Food Poisoning Institute, and the numerous diaper changes. I made sure to record some of the baby cries, because I know how much my mother-in-law treasures them (they make her laugh).

The Gunslinger and the Princess

I have a guilty urge to stay on topic, so I'll discuss what I've been reading out here - Steven King's The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger, and Mister Troll's recommendation, The Princess Bride. I raced through The Gunslinger on the flight over, but didn't quite finish. After arriving, I read it out loud to Baby Gruff each morning until I finished the book. I enjoyed it, but I think the goofy philosophical mumbo-jumbo could have been too much for the boy at his age. He's only 10 weeks old, and by the end of some passages he was cross-eyed and drooling. . . but maybe that's normal. I think he enjoyed the gun fighting and cowboy-knight mythology, and every scene involving Cort. I sure did.

Next, I read The Princess Bride out loud to Baby Gruff. I think he got more out of it than I did. First of all, he has not seen the movie, so every page was a surprise to him. Secondly, he slept through most of Goldman's asides, which I felt often took away from the experience anyway. Thirdly, he wasn't left with the impression that the movie was better than the book, because he had never seen it.

Now, don't get me wrong. The book is pretty darned good, and it contains a few things that the movie does not. But if there's one thing I can say about the movie, it's that it's the best movie adaptation of a book I have seen to date. I don't think I go too far when I say that the movie successfully functions as an abridged version of Goldman's work, cutting out some of his satire and mediocre humor. All of the funniest stuff is in there, and little was cut. Where there were cuts (e.g. the Inigo and Fezzik history flashbacks), the important information was delivered well.

To Be Continued....

I'll fill you in with more California blogging as my vacation continues. Harry Potter, Neil Gaiman, and kung fu feature prominently.


Mister Troll said...

Steven King? For a baby? I must be missing something here! :-)

Joel said...

When he cries at the scary parts, I just tell him to buck up and "be a man!" So far, it hasn't worked so well, however. I can't even get him not to cry when he poops.

It's hard to be a good dad. I shouldn't be so hard on my brother for raising such screwed up kids (My nephews, the original Three Billy Goats Gruff).

Anonymous said...

The Food Poisoning Institute? Wow, it sounds like you really have this parenting thing under control ;)

Mrs. Troll

Joel said...

No babies were harmed in the visit to the Sausalito Food Poisoning Institute, and neither were my wife and I.

The story behind this is that we had to make an emergency stop in Sausalito for our evening meal, because the traffic was so bad around San Francisco. We stopped at a little Italian place called Caffe Trieste, and were underwhelmed by our eating experience there. To make things worse, both of our hosts had food poisoning over the course of the next 24 hours, presumably from the potato salad they both ate there.